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Local Heroes strive to make their community stronger, healthier and more inclusive. In doing so, they improve the lives of all Australians.

Ronni Kahn AO received the 2010 Australia’s Local Hero Award and has created an artwork that references and celebrates the 20 Local Heroes on the 20th anniversary of the Award.

The Order of the Teaspoon 2022 by Ronni Kahn

Ronni was inspired to create this artwork by the parable of the same name by Amos Oz. The parable is about the power of many people making small contributions that, when combined, have a huge impact. This is the philosophy behind Ronni’s organisation, OzHarvest, and applies to many of the Local Hero recipients.

An artwork comprised of a yellow wooden spoon mounted to a piece of grey coloured timber. Adhered to the timber around the spoon and to the handle are twenty souvenir teaspoons. The timber is attached to a piece of paperbark which is adhered to a section of cardboard.

Order of the Teaspoon from Ronni Kahn

Ronni Kahn

Studio portrait photograph of Ronni Kahn. - click to view larger image

Food rescuer
Australia's Local Hero 2010

Ronni was stunned by the vast amount of food thrown away at the events she organised. In 2004 she started delivering leftover food to a local homeless shelter. Enlisting the help of others, Ronni turned her desire to fix a problem into OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue organisation.

She has created a lasting legacy that now inspires and educates people around the world about food waste, food security and sustainability.

I’ve been blessed with an opportunity and ran with it and turned it into an organisation that has a significant impact, because we need it. It was not that I am special.

The Australia’s Local Hero Award (2010) acknowledged and highlighted the need for food rescue services. It has elevated us in ways I could not have imagined. I am so proud, so unbelievably proud.

Meet the 20 Local Heroes

The Australia’s Local Hero category became part of the Australian of the Year Awards in 2003. It acknowledges everyday Australians who make a significant contribution to their local community.

These quiet achievers identify an issue, speak out and take action. Their extraordinary drive creates real change and lasting legacies.

Photograph of Shanna Whan.
2022 | Shanna Whan, founder of Sober in the Country, New South Wales

While recovering from alcohol addiction, Shanna established Sober in the Country, a charity that provides peer support, advocacy and education around alcohol use.

Photograph of Rosemary Kariuki.
2021 | Rosemary Kariuki OAM, advocate for migrant and refugee women, New South Wales

Drawing on her own migrant experience of isolation and loneliness, Rosemary works to help other women facing domestic violence, social barriers and financial distress.

Photograph of Bernie Shakeshaft.
2020 | Bernie Shakeshaft, founder of BackTrack Youth Works Program, New South Wales

Seeing a system failing vulnerable young people with complex needs, Bernie established BackTrack to provide kids with hands-on skills, training and long-term support.

Photograph of Kate and Tick Everett.
2019 | Kate and Tick Everett, advocates against bullying, Northern Territory

After the tragic death of their daughter following extensive bullying, Kate and Tick founded Dolly’s Dream to raise awareness about bullying and create positive change through education.

Photograph of Eddie Woo.
2018 | Eddie Woo, mathematics teacher, New South Wales

A high school maths teacher, Eddie’s online videos for a student with cancer became a ‘Wootube’ sensation that have educated millions worldwide.

Photograph of Vicki Jellie.
2017 | Vicki Jellie AM, community fundraising champion, Victoria

After her husband, Peter, died of cancer, Vicki lobbied governments and united her community to fulfill his dream and establish a regional cancer centre.

Photograph of Catherine Keenan.
2016 | Dr Catherine Keenan AM, youth educator, New South Wales

Catherine established the Sydney Story Factory, a not-for-profit creative writing centre that nurtures the talent and creativity of marginalised young people.

Photograph of Juliette Wright.
2015 | Juliette Wright OAM, social entrepreneur, Queensland

Juliette created GIVIT, an online platform to better align people’s goodwill with the needs of charities.

Photograph of Tim Conolan.
2014 | Tim Conolan, children’s charity founder, Victoria

After attending a cancer support group camp as a motivational speaker, Tim was inspired to create TLC for Kids to support children in hospitals and their families.

Photograph of Shane Phillips.
2013 | Shane Phillips, Indigenous leader, New South Wales

Shane is a highly respected community leader who speaks out on juvenile justice, Aboriginal deaths in custody and other First Nations youth issues.

Photograph of Lynne Sawyers.
2012 | Lynne Sawyers, foster mother, New South Wales

A foster parent to more than 200 children over 20 years, Lynne worked tirelessly to love and care for troubled teenagers.

Photograph of Donald Ritchie.
2011 | Donald Ritchie OAM, suicide prevention advocate, New South Wales

Donald was a local retiree whose kind chats and cups of tea saved about 160 lives at The Gap, a notorious suicide spot in Sydney.

Photograph of Ronni Kahn.
2010 | Ronni Kahn AO, food rescuer, New South Wales

Starting with one van delivering leftover food to local charities, Ronni’s OzHarvest has grown to become Australia’s leading food rescue organisation.

Photograph of Graeme Drew.
2009 | Graeme Drew, sea rescuer and educator, Western Australia

Following his nephew’s fatal fall off ocean rocks, local professional fisherman Graeme tirelessly campaigned to improve coastal safety along the treacherous south coast of Western Australia.

Photograph of Jonathon Welch.
2008 | Jonathon Welch AM, choral conductor, Victoria

The driving force behind community music project Choir of Hard Knocks, Jonathon revealed the power of choral singing to rebuild the confidence and self-esteem of the homeless and disadvantaged.

Photograph of Shanaka Fernando.
2007 | Shanaka Fernando, social challenger, Victoria

In 2000 Shanaka opened ‘Lentil as Anything’, a restaurant with no set prices that welcomed everybody to enjoy a meal and pay what they could afford.

Photograph of Toni Hoffman.
2006 | Toni Hoffman AM, patient advocate, Queensland

As the head nurse at Bundaberg Base Hospital, Toni showed immense courage by speaking up and bringing cases of medical negligence to light.

Photograph of Ben Kearney.
2005 | Ben Kearney, environmental campaigner, Tasmania

Ben mobilised his community to ban the use of plastic bags, starting a shift to reusable shopping bags across the country.

Photograph of Donna Carson.
2004 | Donna Carson, survivor of domestic violence, New South Wales

After a violent domestic abuse incident required her to undergo lengthy hospitalisation and rehabilitation, Donna rebuilt her life while advocating for fellow victims of violent crime.

Photograph of Brian Parry.
2003 | Brian Parry AFSM, bushfire fighter, New South Wales

Brian was the inaugural recipient of Australia’s Local Hero Award, in recognition of his actions during the Shoalhaven bushfire emergency of 2001.

Portrait images supplied by the National Australia Day Council.

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